I notice when my thoughts are fearful, and I choose to change them.
I believe when it comes to birth, women are sometimes their greatest enemy. Your mind is a powerful tool that can be used to your advantage in labor or it can be the factor that breaks you.
CHOSING to be in control and CHOSING to trust your body are key components of labor. If your thoughts do not back your choices you are setting yourself up for a battle you may have already lost.
Practice mental and emotional relaxation on a regular basis leading up to your birth to better prepare your mind. Fear will negatively affect your body in labor so eliminating it as much as possible should be a high priority for you and your birth team.
Keeping fearful thoughts away from you, both internally and externally (negative friends and family), is the best thing to do. but if they cannot be avoided it is your job to change your mind-set.
Analyze your situation and decide if your fears are rational or not. If they are not, you are the only one who can take control.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”- Ambrose Redmoon
“The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.” ~Heather McCue
How encouraging to know that YOU have the power to birth your baby.
A power so incredible only women, who have grown and nurtured a life for 9+ months and given birth (no matter how they did it!), will understand.
Bringing a new life into this world gives you a surge of confidence I don’t think anyone can fully describe.
That little baby (or babies) is your hard work, your pure love, and your reward for all you have done.
Women are powerful. We should all embrace the power and encourage one another to use, enjoy, and not fear it…especially when it comes to birth!
As a slight twist on my usual Afternoon Affirmation I thought I would share a personal letter to myself reflecting on my first year of motherhood. I hope this is an inspiration to all the new and about to be new mommas. Be sure to also check out the video at the end that inspired me to write this post.
Wife – Mother – Doula
Olivia September 2011
Olivia July 2012
To Kelsey Then
From Kelsey Now:
Your due date is just 7 days away and as you expect you will still be pregnant on and well after it. In fact you will even go to Plano Balloon Festival STILL pregnant. Take a deep breath. Olivia is so worth the wait. I know you think this past year has been crazy, but hold on because it’s about to get even more crazy. Didn’t think it was possible did you? Craziest part is, it’s not even your newborn that will be the cause of your stress. No, she will be your relief, your light in the dark, the one thing you hold onto when everything else is spinning out of control. Your little girl will save your life.
Your labor will not go according to (your very vague and flexible) plan. Just trust yourself and your body and you will get through it. 1 hour after Olivia’s arrival the words “can’t even tell she just had a baby” will come out of your midwife’s mouth…hold on to that thought after the first 24 hours of labor! You will use your birth experience to inspire others and will be a beautiful mother, even with the dark circles under your eyes from lack of sleep. You will be a breastfeeding master with advice and information that shows other moms they aren’t alone. You’ll be excited and disgusted all at the same time when it comes to dirty diapers. You will learn thing you never thought possible, like how the phrase “it’s different when they’re your own” is 100% true, and even though you have a girl you still have to beware projectile pee. Your feelings of not deserving a baby and not being good enough will be wiped away and replaced with immeasurable joy.
In just 365 day you will be planning your daughters 1st birthday party. You will realize no matter how many people tell you “time speeds up when you have kids” it will still be faster than you ever imagined. When people ask you how you like being a mom, you will laugh as you tell them you didn’t even want kids until you met Thomas and now you’re a birth advocate, instructor, and doula. Talk about a complete lifestyle change! Motherhood will be the best thing that ever happened to you.
This time next year you will not be where you imagine right now. Parts will be better and parts will be worse but you will have a loving husband, a healthy baby, supportive family, and a roof over your head. So ENJOY your last few days of pregnancy and remember if God brings you to it, He’ll get you through it.
I can never be a PERFECT parent, but I can be the BEST parent for my child!
The following quote hits the nail on the head!
“Each mother/parent is doing the best s/he can and making the best decisions s/he can make based on their own situation. State that it’s not for you, if you will, but please don’t judge those who make different decisions than you. Odds are, you’re screwing your kid up as well, just in a different way.” ~Joanna Schmehl Irizarry
Doing your best to love, nurture, and protect your child is all you can do.
Do not worry what other people think is right or wrong and listen to your instincts.
Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever do, but it’s also the most rewarding.
When it comes to getting your pre-baby body back don’t approach it with the attitude of “it only took 9 months to get this way so I should be back to ‘normal’ in 9 months”.
Women come in all shapes and sizes before pregnancy, but chances are after birth you’ll have your fair share of stretch marks.
A few years ago I was so happy to see Jessica Alba describe her postpartum experience in a way most celebrities don’t, “Even though some might consider them a flaw, I’ve learned to love my stretch marks. Pregnancy was the most incredible experience I’ve ever had. So I’ll take the stretch marks. I’ll take the sagging boobs. I’ll take the cellulite I can never get rid of. If you walk around with your head held high and you’re happy and positive, then all that other stuff is irrelevant. Confidence is number one.”
Look at your stretch marks as proof that you carried and supported a baby inside of you for 9+ months! That is something amazing no woman should be ashamed of!